Surviving Among Sharks When Lost at Sea

Surviving Among Sharks When Lost at Sea

If you missed our previous post on How to Survive at Sea: Your Guide for Staying Alive, click here. For the second portion of that article, read below on how to protect yourself from a shark attack when lost at sea:

Another conflict when adrift at sea can be sharks. Try and avoid them altogether, however, generally speaking the harmful ones have wide mouths and visible teeth, and the relatively harmless ones have small mouths on the underside of their heads. If you are actually in the water when sharks appear, move as little as possible, however, you will certainly want to get out of the water quickly as you can. If you must swim, take strong strokes, making as little irregular movement as possible, and avoid flailing. You cannot outswim a shark though! It is important, as in any emergent situation, to keep your wits about you so you can continuously assess the situation and attain safety. Always keep your eye on the shark.  They will sometimes disappear and then re-emerge from behind, making a sneak attack. Even when trying to escape, keep you eye on the shark. If you are underwater or near a reef or outcropping of rocks, back up against it so that you only have to defend yourself from the front. Do not play dead, as this will not deter an aggressive shark. You must make it think you are a strong and credible threat.

If you are faced with an aggressive shark and are unprotected, you can fight it off. Cup your hands and slap the surface of the water, making loud bands. Try shouting underwater. Kick the shark in the head or snout.  If you are floating with a group of people, facing outward, form a tight circle. Kick or hit the shark with any hard objects that may be available. Do not play dead if the shark bites down. You should hit it in the areas that are most sensitive, such as the eyes and gills. If you encounter an aggressive shark when you are in the raft, jab at the sharks gills or snout with an oar.

Sharks have a keen sense of smell and are attracted by blood and body waste.  They are also attracted to sounds such as splashing and screaming, as well as bright, reflective light. Clusters of birds and dolphins share the same food source as sharks, so be on the lookout for such a group.  When sharks are nearby, eliminate all body matter and food garbage by throwing it as far away from the raft as possible. Urinate in bursts and allow each to dissipate before going again. If you are fishing, stop when sharks are near. Also, do not clean fish in the water or throw the waste from the cleaned fish overboard. Sharks can inflict injuries that are serious, painful, and sometimes fatal.

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